Your mom loves your show. Your girlfriend gets SO HOT when she sees you sing. Your bandmates are convinced that Radiohead has never sounded as good as you guys did last night. Your manager swears your “big deal” is just around the corner. What do all these people have in common? They don’t know what the hell they are talking about. Perspective (especially the impartial kind) from others is good, but no one knows your music like you do. You can’t be there in the crowd to hear how you sounded and see how you looked, but luckily you can (with a little money) video tape yourself!
If you ever had a public speaking class you probably learned the same lesson.
As painful as it can be, facing up to the truth of what you look and
sound like is vitally important to improving. Vocalists can really
attest to the tricks of perception; many a time I’ve
walked out of a vocal booth convinced I just eclipsed Rufus Wainwright
with my sonorous sounds only to head to the monitor room to discover I
sounded like a tuneless frog with hooping cough.
While some cameras have better sound than others for judging your audio performance, videotaping yourself
REALLY comes in handy when seeing how your band looks. Are you active
and animated (read: enjoying your own music!) or rigid and amateurish?
Does your drummer get tired and lose steam after the first half of the
set, or can he keep up? Are the long pauses between your songs losing
the crowd? Is your “witty banter” with the crowd necessary (or at all clever)? Were
those light bulb costumes you wore on stage really worth the money? Get a camera and find out!